12 Best Museums in Tokyo to Visit for 2022
If you are looking to add more places onto your destination list, we highly recommend visiting museums around Tokyo to explore the rich tradition and culture of Japanese people. Enjoy a relaxing day visiting museums that challenge your imagination!
Tokyo has countless museums and galleries that encapsulate various aspects of the Japanese culture. From exploring the Japanese ecosystem to appreciating the historic Edo Period, museums provide an opportunity for you to learn more about the living culture around us. We have combined a list of the Best Museums in Tokyo that are worth a visit!
1. National Arts Center, Tokyo
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Tokyo National Arts Center is one of Japan’s largest exhibition centers. It is located in the Roppongi district at the center of Tokyo. The entrance is usually free however there might be extra charges for certain exhibitions. The beautiful modern architecture is designed by Kisho Kurokawa, a talented architect that have designed several iconic constructions in Japan.
The National Arts Center is made up of seven enormous column-less display rooms, a library, an auditorium, restaurants, cafes and museum shops.
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2. Mori Arts Center Gallery
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Mori Arts Center Gallery is a large museum with a high ceiling, located on the 52nd and 53rd floors of the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower. The gallery space displays artworks by some of the world’s most famous contemporary artists such as Ai Weiwei and Bill Viola. The art center focuses on displaying Asian artworks concentrating on pieces from Japan and East Asia. You can get to this gallery by taking the train to Roppongi Station on the Hibiya Line and Oedo Line.
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3. Nezu Museum
Nezu Museum is located in the beautiful garden in Minami Aoyama, Tokyo. It is an art museum that displays pieces collected by a businessman Kaichiro Nezu during his lifetime. This outdoor museum holds more than 7,000 works of art, including national treasures and important cultural properties. It vibrates a calming and relaxing atmosphere that allow you to truly appreciate the art pieces and the Japanese nature. The exhibition is divided into small rooms, each room displaying different characteristics.
4. The Ueno Royal Museum
The Ueno Royal Museum first opened its door in 1972, it is a private art museum in Ueno Park. Around the museum ground, you will find plenty of bronze statues and stone monuments standing solemnly around the museum. Ueno Royal Museum does not house any permanent exhibitions, but the temporary exhibitions cover subjects ranging from calligraphy to classical Japanese paintings. It is located only few minute-walk from JR Ueno Station Park Exit.
5. teamLab Borderless
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TeamLab Borderless is a digital art museum located in Palette Town, a manmade island in Tokyo Bay, accessible by monorail or bus. The interactive TeamLab Borderless digital art museum in Odaiba is created by TeamLab. It is a space where you can truly appreciate your borderless imagination. There are multiple sections, including Borderless World, Athletics Forest, and Future Park. Located in a convenient location, only about a 3-minute walk from Aomi Station on the Yurikamome Line or a 5-minute walk from the Tokyo Teleport Station on the Rinkai Line.
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6. Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall
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Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall is equipped for everything from business to entertainment, a spacious foyer designed to facilitate interactions. The “Art Aquarium” in particular has been held every year ever since 2011, it is a dimly lit area, displaying gorgeously designed artworks that challenge your imagination.
It combines the arts of lightings, sculptures, and shapes. The most notable artwork is a giant water tank with countless goldfish swimming in circle, reminiscent of traditional Japanese artworks.
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7. Ghibli Museum
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The Ghibli Museum is about 15-minute walk from Mitaka Station, it is a popular spot for Studio Ghibli lovers! There are also short animation films that can only be seen at the museum, which is the main reason why most fans visit this place. Not only that you can meet Totoro, but you can also fully experience various works of Ghibli. As you walk in, a big Totoro will welcome you in his reception office, of course, this is not a real reception, but many fans wish it was! It is a place where you can get a glimpse of the world of your favourite childhood animations.
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8. National Museum of Nature and Science
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National Museum of Nature and Science is a short walk from Ueno Station. There are two permanent exhibitions that can be visited all year round, the Japan Pavilion and the Science Museum. It has over 25,000 items that explore everything from outer space and dinosaurs to the unique ecosystems of Japan. The Museum includes the stuffed body of Hachiko and two famous pandas, a fragment of the Nantan meteorite that hit China in the 16th century, and many more. It is the perfect opportunity to explore Earth, life, animals, and science.
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9. Edo Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum
This is an open-air museum in the western part of Koganei Park, the second largest park in metropolitan Tokyo. It has a range of historic buildings from the Edo Period and Meiji Period. These buildings were relocated to the current location to preserve the historic value of Japanese architectural history. Each building has a signboard, in both Japanese and English that explains its original location, age, and other relevant information. You can also enter some buildings and explore the inside area, make sure you read the sign as most of these buildings require your shoes to be taken off before entering.
10. National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation
The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation is a top destination for science enthusiasts. It is a space where you can look at the world from a scientistic perspective. You can enjoy the experience of some of the latest technologies such as robotics and machines. There are three major zones where you can explore the world of science. The Frontiers Zone is all about the solar system, and life on Earth. In the Create your Future Zone, you can find out more about sustainability and the future of the planet with robots playing a critical role. Lastly, the Discover Your Earth Zone explains the link between life and Earth's environment.
11. Tokyo National Museum
The Tokyo National Museum is the oldest museum in Japan, founded in 1872 (Meiji Period) in Ueno Park, Taito Ward. The museum is divided into 5 sections including the main building, the Hyokeikan, the Toyokan, the Heiseikan, and the Horyuji Treasures Museum. Tokyo National Museum houses various national treasures and important cultural properties that had appeared in several national textbooks and history.
At any one time, about 4000 different items from the permanent museum collection are on display. This place is great for tourists as they are usually English signboards detailing the significance of each art piece.
12. Edo-Tokyo Museum
Edo Tokyo Museum is located near Ryogoku Station, the museum permanently displays objects related to the history and culture of Edo and Tokyo. Visitors are given the opportunity to explore and learn about the various aspects of earlier Tokyo, such as the tradition and culture back in the Edo Period. In addition to the permanent exhibition, there are also special exhibitions held in certain month with various Tokyo-related theme. It is recommended that you purchase the ticket before arrival to avoid major crowd.